Laura Nettleton is the Director of Development at Explore Austin and is responsible for implementing and executing Explore’s fundraising strategies. Her vision is to create a diversified and sustainable funding approach to undergird expenses while additionally supporting Explore’s growth so that it continues to serve and expand its reach to underserved youth. Laura is passionate about aligning donor giving interests with opportunities to serve others.
Laura earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Women’s Studies from Hope College in Holland, Michigan in 2009 and her Master’s Degree in Advertising from The University of Texas in 2011. Laura spent four years working in advertising agencies as a campaign strategist before she felt a pull towards the nonprofit sector. Since then, Laura has led the expansion of a grants department and of a regional development team in another nonprofit, executing over $3.5 million in donations. Laura’s expertise lies in major gifts, donor cultivation, grants, events, and research.
Because of the handful of moves her family made in her childhood in addition to having two older brothers, Laura grew up learning to make friends through sports and outdoor activities all the while planning the day to when she could beat her brothers in basketball. While living in Montana, Laura’s interests in fishing, hiking, and skiing grew and were supported by summers spent in Michigan while visiting her grandparents where she learned how to sail, horseback ride, kayak, canoe, and go mucking in the marsh. Today, Laura spends most of her time running, lifting weights, cycling, camping, climbing, and more. If it means the heart rate increases, most likely Laura is doing it. The outdoors is akin to a sanctuary for Laura—empowering her mind, body, and spirit. Because of this, Laura truly believes in the power of the outdoors in helping to transform youths’ lives. She did eventually beat her brothers in basketball too.